Even though the warning that sales and marketing professionals will be replaced by bots is probably a little overblown, one area of Artificial Intelligence – predictive analytics – is already becoming a vital tool in lead generation and customer engagement.
Data is an increasingly important part of sales and marketing efforts, and the availability and volume of data is growing exponentially – no surprises there! But here is where it gets difficult – humans simply don’t have the time, or mental capacity, to sift through the millions of articles, blogs, press releases, financial reports and social media feeds posted worldwide every day. The result is information overload.
Data analytics are not new, but they are evolving. No longer the sole domain of large tech companies with vast IT budgets, the democratisation of data via sales intelligence, CRM and marketing automation is already lending a helping hand. Innovative software solutions and integrations with incumbent platforms use clever algorithms to collate, analyse and filter information from millions of sources to prioritise leads, uncover pain points, identify buying triggers, and spot engagement opportunities.
The best sales people can see the future
With the playing field levelled, truly staying ahead of the curve now requires more than the ability to analyse and filter large data sets – enter Artificial Intelligence (AI), and the world of predictive analytics.
Entrepreneur Magazine has suggested that using predictive analytics can generate 82% deal-on-deal forecast accuracy. So what exactly is it?
Predictive algorithms take the insight journey a step further. Rather than simply collating and filtering data, they offer the ability to ‘make use’ of millions of structured and unstructured data points to spot correlations, trends and emerging patterns. Run these though machine-based learning (MBL) to evaluate relevancy, actionability, impact, or even natural language processing applications to identify sentiments and buying triggers, and the result is an advanced capability to grasp the most precise insights imaginable for:
- Faster decision making
- Speedy lead qualification
- Improved forecast accuracy
- Delivery of bespoke, ‘hyper personalised’ sales and marketing propositions
- Optimised engagement at every stage of the sales process
- Improved ongoing customer success and relationship management
- Identification of new customer segments and opportunities
“The measure of intelligence is the ability to change” – Albert Einstein
Artificial intelligence and predictive analytics are poised to make a massive contribution to the sales and marketing process. Fear of change is inevitable, but don’t believe the hype. Predictive analytics and other medium term AI/MBL developments won’t displace sales and marketing professionals but instead will augment their working practices. Sales teams will be more efficient through the elimination of manual data wrangling, improved forecasting, automating manual tasks, and ultimately delivering first mover advantage and improved results.